23 April 2010, JellyBean @ 6:45 am

Scientists wondering just how low faith in their field has fallen will get some uncomfortable answers in a study examining belief in Extrasensory Perception (ESP), recently published in the online journal Current Research in Social Psychology.

In the experiment, conducted by a University of Maryland research team led by sociologist Heather Ridolfo, 160 participants watched a short video in which an individual is remarkably successful at a card-guessing game. In fact, the film’s star was informed of the answers, but it appeared to the study participants that she was either extremely lucky or had some sort of sixth sense.

After viewing the video, participants completed a series of questions, including whether they believed in ESP and whether they thought the card-guesser they just saw was demonstrating that ability.

The participants were broken up into four groups. Those in Condition One were informed that 25 percent of the public believes in ESP, but the scientific community rejects the concept. Those in Condition Two were told that more than 90 percent of the public believes in ESP, but the scientific community considers it bogus.

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AlterNet

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